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What I liked about Robin Williams

Robin Williams, 1951-2014

Robin Williams, 1951-2014

Robin Williams was a great comedian, whose greatest strengths lay in ad-libbing. It is said that the writers for Mork and Mindy left intentional gaps in the script so that Robin could fill it in with his lightning-fast ad-libbing.

He played very funny characters on stage and TV, but he also played very warm, but serious characters on film. One serious character was his role as counselor Sean Maguire in the 1997 movie Good Will Hunting, a film loosely based on the life of Will Sidis, a real-life savant, rumored to have an IQ of 250 to 300, but his IQ could not have been as high as that. Indeed, the scale does not go above 200.

Whatever he played, there was an undeniably human quality about every character he played, as far as I could tell. Even the zaniest or improbable characters had a human quality you could connect with emotionally.

He was an actor with an amazing amount of energy, and he will surely be missed.

Robin Williams died today at age 63.

In memoriam 2009 (what the heck)

I had something else in mind when I compiled this list of people who passed away back in 2009. For the heck of it, I am posting some “interesting” people who died that year (not in any particular order):

Les Paul, inventor of the electric guitar.

Les Paul, inventor of the electric guitar.

Les Paul – Guitarist and maker of guitars. Inventor of the electric guitar. Rock wouldn’t have existed without him.

Ed McMahon – Former night show sidekick and infomercial huckster
Farrah Fawcett - It was rather remarkable that lots of celebrities passed on in 2009. When I went through them at the IMDB website, I stopped counting at 600. In my “in memoriam” blogs, it’s not my style to emphasize celebrity deaths, but it can’t be helped here.
Micheal Jackson – Needs no introduction.
Sen. Ted Kennedy – While I don’t follow the Kennedys all that much, would he be the last surviving sibling of the “JFK” generation?

Gidget

The Taco Bell Dog (Gidget) – Rest in peace, little guy.

David Carradine – The Kung Fu star
Dom DeLuise – The comedian only known to play a narrow range of characters, but appeared in plenty of movies
Walter Cronkite - News anchor for CBS, first to announce the death of JFK
Beatrice Arthur – Star of Maude and later, Golden Girls
Susan Atkins

Susan Atkins

Susan Atkins (“Sexy Sadie”) – Neither a celebrity nor politician, nor particularly “sexy”, was one of the murderers of the Charles Manson cult.

Billy Mays (ad huckster, “Tool Guys”) – Even infomercial hucksters are in greater than usual numbers here.
Ricardo Montalban – First, Nescafe, then Fantasy Island, then Star Trek, and now “the Undiscovered Country, from whose bourn no traveller returns” – Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III, Scene I.
Soupy Sales – Comedian most known during the 60s and 70s.
Sydney Chaplin – Famous for being the son of Charlie.
Roy Disney – Famous for being the brother of Walt.
John Travolta – First a sweathog, then a singer, then Saturday Night Fever, then Scientology.

Lux Interior

Lux Interior (The Cramps) – Punk rocker famous for incorporating the tackiest elements of ’50s chic into his music, art, and personal style. His songs appear on several recent movie soundtracks, including The Social Network, and The Matador.

Alex Jones and his nutty ideas

As you may have known, I have a thing for loonies in that I find their stuff so entertaining. Alex Jones is neither a lefty, nor is he right-wing. He’s nothing more than a conspiracy nutjob, pure and undiluted by rational thought, although there is the occasional flash of bright light which gets quickly clouded [...] [...]

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Critique of the “Mindblowing Fact” video on income inequality

The video in question  is quite “mind-blowing” as promised, indeed, at over 13 million hits, it can even be called “viral”, but there are problems in how it presents and handles facts and references. While I don’t have a problem with the facts, and I am quite certain they are based on serious numbers, the [...] [...]

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The Chances of Winning the Lotto

Winning the lottery is how many people believe they will become financially secure in their lives. In fact, about one person in 4 believe  this. The chances of winning a lottery like the Massachusetts Megabucks lotto or the Ontario Lotto 6-49 are based in the idea that, out of 49 numbers available, you choose 6 numbers [...] [...]

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Rob Ford and His Continued Support

Etobicoke. People in hard times. Yeah, there are good parts of this Toronto borough, but huge parts of it are run-down and filling up with down-and-outers looking to make a buck any way they can. People in hard times, closed shops and factories, low rates of literacy, and not much money to spend. After decades of [...] [...]

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Rob Ford and his Enablers

An “Etobicoke resident”, who went by the name of Joy Green, was interviewed twice by the CBC, once for CBC Newsworld, and one more time for As It Happens on CBC Radio One. Etobicoke, a Toronto bourough which is known for shuttered factories and high crime, is known to some (like me) as “the Automotive [...] [...]

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Rob Ford: A comedy Review

The Saturday Night Live (SNL) parody of the Toronto Crack-Smoking-Mayor-in-name-only Rob Ford has been roundly declared, from many sources in radio and blogs, and me, to be not funny. A post-mortem is in order as to why SNL, the foremost bastion of coolness-and-funny, dropped the ball bigtime on this one with last Saturday’s show opener [...] [...]

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Nobody wins

This is a story about Nobody getting arrested. Nobody getting a brutal police beating. Nobody spending three days in hospital. Nobody being jailed, and Nobody being let go, because the charges didn’t stick. While hearing reports about Adam Nobody seems humourous, with reporters having to, as they always do for people they are discussing, referring to [...] [...]

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A hate on SWAG

SWAG has by now been so overused that no one, not even the generation that wear their hats sideways and wear their pants so that half their ass shows, seem to know what it means anymore. And I don’t mean that older people don’t know what they mean, but I am not sure that even [...] [...]

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The questions of our ‘net denizens

From time to time one gets curious about the most popular questions on the minds of people on the ‘net. If I enter “why” in the Google search, depending on the letter that comes after, I get, through autocomplete: Why be happy when you could be normal Why does Facebook suck Why fighting should stay in hockey Why? For the [...] [...]

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More repair notes on the blog

While this is not the optimal solution, it looks like there is no choice. I had to go into the database to delete all of the comments in order to delete the 130 thousand or so spurious comments from spammers waiting in the moderation queue. So, to this day, there are no comments anywhere in [...] [...]

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Back after being blocked out

I haven’t published anything at this blog since mid-2011, and I won’t for some time, as I have to now fix the site. First, I needed to get rid of fake subscribers (over 15 thousand of them)  placed here by spambots. Spambots have also inserted nearly 150 thousand fake messages should you like to hear [...] [...]

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Computers in education

The debate over computers in the schools has finally come  around to giving naysayers equal time. There was an article in the Sunday New York Times regarding a school in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley that teaches math, music, and other standard elementary school subjects in a computer-free environment.Computers are touted as an enhancer [...] [...]

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Dennis Ritchie, dead at 70

Computer programmer Dennis Ritchie passed away today at age 70. Ritchie co-invented the UNIX operating system with Ken Thompson at Bell Labs in 1969, while co-authoring the C programming language with Brian Kernighan around the same period. In 1978, Kernighan and Ritchie co-authored the book “The C Programming Language”, now known as the K&R book. [...] [...]

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Catch-22 is 50

Well, that milestone had been past a couple of days ago having first been published on October 11, 1961 (I was sure it was first published in the 50s, but not so, according to publisher Simon & Schuster), but I must say it was my favourite book, and possibly remains my favourite book of fiction [...] [...]

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On Advocates for Suicide

Whether it’s in favour of Euthanasia, or whatever other pretext there is to make suicide look good, do you ever notice that people in support of suicide are still alive, and need to be alive to advocate for it? I dunno. Just a thought. [...]

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Nice polynomials, nice polynomials …

For my math class, I was attempting to create a curve sketching question by writing the second derivative as a factorable quadratic, and working backwards to an order-4 polynomial. Along the way, I would fill in the missing constant terms by using synthetic division on an arbitrary binomial factor, and striking upon a satisfactory polynomial [...] [...]

Go to article Nice polynomials, nice polynomials …

Regretsy is into their second year.

I am a lover of satire, and I came across a great site called “Regretsy“, a parody site of “etsy“, which is a site for people who want to sell their arts and crafts. There are a lot of bad crafts out there sold by people who are often full of themselves (you have to [...] [...]

Go to article Regretsy is into their second year.

Thoughts on September 11

Frankly, I didn’t want to get caught up in the hubbub that has marked the 10th anniversary of the disasters of 9/11/2001, but my wife had been watching the TV about this constantly, so I thought I would weigh in on opinions on what has been called 9/11. There are a lot of conspiracy theories out [...] [...]

Go to article Thoughts on September 11